After starring in the smash hit "Halloween," Jamie Lee Curtis was roped into starring in two other slasher films before polishing off her early "scream queen" career with "Halloween II." This is one of them.
The Canadian "Prom Night" is a decent early slasher pic with Curtis as a high school senior who witnessed the brutal, accidental killing of her sister as a child. A group of kids pushed her out of a second story window during a twisted hide-and-seek game. Curtis looked way too old to be in high school, but what the heck. Someone starts making crank calls and whacking off the kids who participated in the accidental killing. Is it the man who was wrongfully institutionalized for the girl's death?
It all climaxes with murders at a disco-fied senior prom, where Curtis has an extended "Saturday Night Fever"-style dance scene. A severed head shows up on the dance floor. "Don't panic!" a teacher screams as everyone scrambles for the exit. Fairly well-done, more than watchable horror flick. Nielsen stars as Curtis' dad. This was before he hit comedy stardom with the "Naked Gun" movies. Kevin Williamson borrowed a hell of a lot from this movie with "I Know What You Did Last Summer." As in that modern hit, the guilt-ridden characters of "Prom Night" are being offed by someone who knows about a death they were involved with. Williamson's treatment was 100 times better.
A decent, professionally made horror film, "Prom Night" has all the cliches: the nutty janitor you're supposed to suspect is a killer; the sluts who are slashed first; teenagers played by actors in their 30s. At least it's better than other early '80s slasher pics, like "Happy Birthday to Me" and the unwatchable, long out-of-print "Graduation Day."
"Prom Night" spawned a number of totally unrelated sequels, the first of which, "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II" was released seven years after this one.
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